Ticks and the diseases that come with them may not be identified as a problem in Sutter County, said Dr. Lou Anne Cummings, health officer for Sutter County, but they are endemic throughout California.
“Our risk is relatively low, but people travel,” she said. “If you’re out hiking” it’s best “to check at the end of the day to make sure you don’t bring anything home.”
Neighboring Butte County recently issued a warning about the prevalence of ticks in some areas of that county.
The most common areas to watch out for ticks are woodland-type settings, Cummings said, although the insect can also occur in grassland areas.
Ticks are most active during spring and fall.
The Sutter-Yuba Mosquito and Vector Control District has done some surveys about ticks in the Yuba County foothills, said Michael Kimball, district manager.
The vector control office can identify the insect for a person and can provide information for testing sites.
The Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District has identified increased populations of deer ticks in Chico’s Bidwell Park areas and the Lake Oroville Recreation Area trails.
Advice to avoid tick bites includes:
• Avoid places ticks live, such as trail margins, bushy and grassy areas and leaf litter.
• Wear light-color clothes to more easily see ticks if they get on you.
• Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts; tuck pants legs into boots or socks and tuck shirts into pants.
• Use repellent registered for use against ticks.
• Check yourself and your children, and pets, frequently for ticks.
“It’s one of those things to keep an eye out for. It’s really important to get out and be active,” Cummings said. “Simple precautions should help you stay safe while you’ve been out enjoying the outdoors.”
Information about ticks is available at county health offices.
Preventative methods are available to protect dogs from tick disease, from pills to vaccines to collars and other products through local veterinary hospitals.
“It (prevention) is a concern and people should think about it for their dogs,” said Dr. Mary Diedrich of the Marysville Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Shannon Sullivan, owner of Country Corners Veterinary Hospital in Oregon House, has seen 36 cases of Lyme disease and 32 cases of anaplasmosis, both tickbourne diseases, in dogs in the past 12 months.
Because of the numbers, her office conducts testing for tick-bourne diseases on dogs at the same time as their yearly testing for heartworms.
“Ideally if I had my choice I would have all of my dog patients” with the possibility of exposure, “be vaccinated for Lyme every year and be on a preventative regimen against fleas and ticks,” Sullivan said.
Dogs that may be ill — including acting sick, being lethargic, not wanting to eat or with joint swelling — and that were in areas with ticks, should be brought into their vet’s office. Dog owners can also stop in to talk about what they should look for.
Contact your veterinarian for more information.